Dear Chief Minister Siddaramaiah,
As the world left behind 2016 to ring in 2017, with ambitions and aspirations to make this world a better place for all its inhabitants, countless sexual predators in Karnataka declared war on the bodies and dignity of hundreds of women. Bengaluru witnessed several thousand men –outnumbering the 1500 police on duty–sexually attack and assault several hundred women while the police stood largely helpless. The brazen sexual offenders feared neither the police nor the few media cameras that happened to be there and recorded the horrendous orgy of sexual assaults.
Mr. Chief Minister, in this shameful episode that unfolded on the canvas of the once proud Indian civilisation, the mass sexual assaults in Bengaluru and your home minister G Parameshwara are the twin shames of India. Some Bangloreans have attempted to take a dubious comfort in claiming that similar atrocities against women happen in Delhi too and in larger numbers and more often. It should be no comfort to anyone that Bengaluru is not as bad as any other place. Sexual assault of one woman is horrible enough; mass sexual assault exposes something more sinister than mere individual criminality. It denotes the same group depravity as was exposed among the refugees in Cologne on the 2015/2016 New Year’s Eve celebrations when they raped at least 16 women and otherwise sexually assaulted several hundred others. The real shame is that the same sexual wantonness exists in India in such a large measure as to degenerate into mass sexual assaults.
But this should have come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the daily stories of the gangrapes reported in the media across the country. Who can forget the case of Nirbhaya in Delhi that received worldwide attention? Cases of gangrapes of women, young and old, happen all the time-quite a few even more brutal than Nirbhaya. The only thing exceptional about the aftermath of Nirbhaya was the resulting public outcry and condemnation of rape and other forms of sexual assault. It brought thousands of people out in demonstrations across the country.
The post Nirbahya outcry has faded. Fatigue has set in. India has gone numb again. There are too many sexual assaults including rapes in India; the media are replete with their stories every day. To cope and survive, many minds understandably go numb until reawakened by something like the Bengaluru mass sexual assaults.
Then of course all the dumb instincts overtake the dumber politicians. They show colossal incapacity for comprehending the truth and complete inability to confront it; they blame women’s western mindsets and dresses for sexual assaults; they blame anyone but the offending men. This incomprehensible logic reduces the offending men to automatons, controlled and directed by some unseen forces outside of them. In their robotic state they are shamelessly seen by these politicians and many others as helplessly compelled to sexually assault any women in sight.
The world including much of India understands that sexual assaults are categorically not, and can’t ever be, the result of what the women may think or wear. They definitely are the result of a certain mindset; but it is not the mindset of women. It is the mindset of the male sexual assaulters– of the rapists and sexual predators–that is responsible for any sexual attacks. Sexual assault is the man’s problem–not of women. It is man’s sickness, cultural or otherwise, visited upon the woman. No women ever ask, desire or consent to be sexually assaulted; they didn’t consent to being attacked in Cologne or Bengaluru.
Chief Minister, your home minister Mr G Parameshwara is the shame of India for mindlessly blaming the sexual assaults of hundreds of women upon the victims themselves. He nonsensically accused Indian women of inviting sexual assaults by copying “westerners not only in dressing but in their mindsets too” and irrationally reasoned “hence these kinds of things do happen.” His unforgettably offensive words unforgivably held the women victims responsible for the crimes of men. This despicable attitude implicitly condones sexual assault of women–mass or otherwise.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, you have the responsibility and the opportunity to send a message to every Indian that blaming women for the sexual assaults upon them is not acceptable. By his most irresponsible remarks Mr Parameshwara has shown how utterly unfit he is to serve as an MLA or a minister, let alone as the home minister in charge of law enforcement. Chief Minister, will you marshal the wisdom, decency and the courage to do the right thing and dismiss your imbecilic home minister?
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